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Things I Learned Being an Entrepreneur

Tuesday, 23rd June

Becoming an entrepreneur and starting your own business is a lifelong dream of many. However, it is certainly not without many challenges and obstacles. Some of the people I've spoken with even look at entrepreneurship as an easier path where you get to call your own shots and make lots of money. While, that can sometimes be true, that normally comes after many, many years of hard work and struggling through lean times. Before you set off on your own venture and decide to become and entrepreneur, there are some things you should be aware and get prepared to handle.

The Beginning

If you have an idea for your own product, service or business but you are stuck working for someone else, it can keep you awake at night dreaming of the day you can break free and go out on your own. There is no doubt that many people feel like they have always been destined for something far greater than just a simple 9 to 5 job and dream of a bright future in entrepreneurship.

Starting the path towards breaking free from your 9 to 5 will require a lot of work and perhaps many late nights of work in your free time at home. You might even have to work on your lunch hour or break times to get things ready to make your move. Anyhow, here are the things I wish I knew before becoming an entrepreneur. Hope the list will help you before you start your journey.

What I learned the hard way

• While freedom and money are always a driving force, that is almost never enough to sustain the great effort it takes to become and entrepreneur. You need a deeper and stronger motivation; you must want to build something great. Most successful entrepreneurs have a deep desire to build and create. The money is secondary.

• It will most likely take longer to achieve the number of sales you have planned and hoped for in your original plans. While it is always nice if success comes early, this is almost never the case. You should plan on your target number of sales taking you two or three times as long as you have originally planned.

You will constantly worry that you are not doing enough and you should be putting in more hours, more effort. This is natural and it is healthy to be motivated, just make sure you keep a realistic view and do not drive yourself to burn out. Part of being a successful entrepreneur is seeing things accurately and clearly when others cannot.

• It can be difficult but learning to take risks is crucial for entrepreneurs. Without risk, there is no reward and while it can be uncomfortable it is absolutely necessary. There are all kind of risk and as an entrepreneur you will have to take them every day. In the last few years I've had to take number of different risks - from opening an office in a country I've never been before to letting an employee go just because his personality did not fit the team. There is no one to tell you if this is the right thing to do and you will never know if it is, but you have to act and do it! Taking well measured risks not only help you develop your entrepreneur skills but shows others that you have the courage to do what's right for the company.

• You will fail in one way or another, or even completely. The failure itself is not important. What you learn and how you respond to failure is very important. You must use failure as a way to become stronger and better at what you do and then try again. It know it's a cliche, but it's true: successful people do not see failure as an ending; they see it as a part of the process to success.

• Most people are just looking for a job and a paycheck. As an entrepreneur, you need to get rid of that mentality and not look at yourself as just a worker. You are the employer and the one leading the way. You must be confident and never let yourself slip back into the employee mentality.

• As an entrepreneur, you will decide your own destiny and your level of success. Nobody else can take credit for your success or be blamed for your failure. You must get accustomed to the idea that it all is dependent upon you and your efforts, no one else.

Your very first sale will be a fantastic feeling that you will always remember. Use that as a motivator to take things to a new level and push even harder to take your business to the next level.

• You will learn more in one year as an entrepreneur than you will in 10 years as an employee in the normal working world. There will be challenges, failures and successes that you will learn from constantly. You should use all of your experiences to improve your efforts and build your business.

• Never forget that even though you are working crazy hours, you can still take time to enjoy the things that are very important to you. Part of being an entrepreneur is having control and being able to decide when you need to take a break and do something that is important. No matter how much I enjoy long working days in the office, nothing is more important than my lovely wife and beautiful kids!

It Is Not For Everyone

If becoming an entrepreneur was easy, then I suppose everyone would do it. It is actually far from easy, but it is worth if you have the right mindset and you are the right type of person to take on the challenge. Entrepreneurship is definitely not for everyone!

Many of the challenges and obstacles you will face will be very difficult. In fact, there may even be days when you are not sure you want to continue or that you can continue. I've had, and still have, many of these days and I know how it feels. However, as an entrepreneur you should always find a reason and a way to move forward and overcome the obstacles standing in your way. You need to look at the obstacles as just a part of the process and figure out how you can benefit from overcoming them.

It is important to keep a positive mindset and concentrate on the positive side of your business. Stay focused on the rewards and the freedom you will have once you reach your goals. It is always healthy to recognize problems and issues, but never get stuck focusing only on the downside. Becoming an entrepreneur takes great risk but also offers great rewards and therefore you should recognize the fantastic things you have to look forward to in the future.

Are You Ready To Be Tested?

It will most likely be one of the most difficult things you have ever done but one of the best as well. It will change your life and your outlook in ways you cannot even imagine right now. Today is the day to start planning your journey, do not wait until tomorrow. If you are really ready to be an entrepreneur then you will take every challenge thrown at you, overcome it and open the door to a life most never dream possible!